Volume 16 1907 > Volume 16, No. 3 > History and traditions of the Taranaki Coast: Chapter II, the ancient inhabitants, p 134-154
THE ANCIENT INHABITANTS OF THE TARANAKI COAST.
WHILST there can be but little doubt as to the history of the people who came to New Zealand with the heke, or great migration in the six well-known canoes, it is far otherwise with those who preceded them. Indeed, it seems unlikely, at this date, that we shall ever know anything very definite about this aboriginal people—at any rate so far as this Coast is concerned. At the same time there are many indications in the traditions of the people, that point to earlier migrations than that alluded to above, but we have little certain information as to the names of people, or descents from them, to guide us in fixing the dates of their arrival. Probability seems to point to there having been several early migrations and visits from the Pacific Islands prior to 1350, 1 which is the approximate date now generally accepted as that at which the heke arrived. The best information to hand on this subject is that derived from the traditions of the Ngati-Awa tribe of the Bay of Plenty, and these show that at twenty generations, or five hundred years, back from the time of the heke (1350), there were people living in the Bay of Plenty, and with strong probability in many other parts of the country. At that period Ti-wakawaka arrived from Mata-ora in the canoe “Te Ara-tau-whaiti,” and not long afterwards he was visited by one of the Polynesian navigators named Maku, who, however, did not remain in the country, but returned to Hawaiki from whence he came. 2 This tradition then, fixes an approximate date at which the two voyagers, at different times, arrived in New Zealand. In support of this, Hapakuku Ruia of Te Rarawa says:—“This island originally belonged to Ngu, who lived at Muri-whenua (North Cape), and he was the ancestor of the people called Karitehe, or Turehu, and their descendants are still amongst the tribes of Au-pouri (the North Cape) and Ngati-Kuri (of Whangape Harbour).” Then he recites a genealogy from Ngu to Tamatea, who flourished at the time of the heke circa, 1350; there are twenty-one generations on this line, and this - 135 agrees very well with the number quoted above, and the two serve to fix an approximate date at which people were known to be living in New Zealand as the year 850.
It has been shewn elsewhere, 3 that it was about the year 650 that the Polynesians commenced that series of extraordinary and daring voyages, that in 250 years from that date carried them to all parts of the Pacific, and as New Zealand—under its Rarotongan name, Avaiki-tautau—is mentioned amongst the list of islands visited by some of these voyagers, we may fairly assume that between the two dates mentioned, this country was first settled, and by people of the same Polynesian race as those that comprised the heke of 1350.
It seems probable, and also natural, seeing their positions, that the Bay of Plenty and the Northern Coasts were first settled, and from there the people spread to other parts, until, at the date of the heke, the aborigines seem to have occupied most of the North Island and probably parts of the Middle Island as well.
From indications that may be read by any one who will study the question, it seems a fair generalisation to say that, at the first occupation of this country, practically the whole of the North Island and large parts of the Middle Island were forest-clad. At the time of settlement of the Colony by the Europeans early in the nineteenth century, the largest areas of open country in the North Island were the central Kaingaroa plains—using that term with a somewhat extended meaning—the open country of Hawke's Bay and the Waikato valley. But in all these places there are nearly everywhere signs of former forests, the more persistent and durable indications of which are the mounds and pits left by the roots where the giants of the forest in their old age and decay fell prostrate to the earth. In the Middle Island tradition relates that the open plains of Canterbury were very generally covered with forest, until destroyed by fires some 250 years ago; and to this day the remains of charred logs are to be seen on the foot-hills of the Southern Alps, scattered all over the surface, in places where no native trees are to be found now within very many miles. On the Kaingaroa Plains, North Island—barren desolate pumice wastes—innumerable tree trunks, converted into charcoal, are still to be seen in road and other cuttings at various depths in the pumice, showing that the country was forest-clad anterior to the latest volcanic eruptions. In this same district there are remains in the form of isolated woods still flourishing on the pumice surface, denoting the former extension of great forests which probably covered the whole of the present open country, subsequent to the latest volcanic outbursts.
In the district we have particularly under consideration, there is little doubt that at one time the forests extended right down to the sea - 136 shore, and that the narrow belt of open country fringing the coast, found by the early European settlers, was due to the action of fires and clearings originating with the early Maori inhabitants.
Even as late as the times of Kupe (? Kupe the second) the navigator, whom the genealogies and traditions place in the generation preceding the heke, or about 1325, the country would seem to have been very generally forest-clad along the coasts, for we have an expression of his that has come down with the ages, which refers to the difficulties he experienced in traversing the country. Nga taero o Kupe—the “obstractions of Kupe”—referred originally to the tataramoa (bramble) and matakuru (or wild Irishman) through which he found so much difficulty in forcing his way. This expression has, in more modern times, become emblematical of mental troubles also. We do not know how far Kupe went inland, except in the north, where he crossed from Hokianga to the Bay of Islands; nor do we know with any certainty the date at which he arrived here—it was clearly before the heke of 1350. But on the subject of Kupe, see chapter III.
These forests were teeming with bird-life. The stately Moa stalked with majestic mien through the forests—though perhaps preferring such open spots as existed—the kiwi, the weka, the parera or wild duck, 4 and probably some of the large extinct birds, were still plentiful, at the time of the first occupation by the Maoris, whilst kakas, pigeons, tuis, and other birds that formed such a large item in the old-time Maori cuisine were in great abundance. The streams contained eels and other fish, all forming sources of food in old days; to which the vegetable kingdom contributed in the form of the nikau, mamaku, ti, pohue, karaka and hinau berries, &c., and last, but not least, the aruhe, or root of the bracken, found only in the open parts. Now, it is principally due to the presence of these natural foods that it was possible for the original inhabitants to exist, and more particularly to spread from the sea shore. For, so far as can be ascertained, prior to about the year 1300, the kumara and taro were unknown in New Zealand, the original migrations having succeeded in bringing over only the hue or calabash. It is due to this absence of the staple foods of Polynesia that Polynesian visitors in the generation preceding the heke gave to the leading chief of the Bay of Plenty, whose descendants were living at Whakatane when they arrived, the characteristic name of Toi-the-wood-eater, for their food was fern root, mamaku, and other wild vegetables. But for - 137 these native wild foods, all expansion of the people from the place of their original landing must have been by the coast, either by canoe or overland, in order to allow of contact with the sea, from whence so much of their diet was procured. And probably this—the line of least resistance—was the route first taken as the population spread, though it is clear, that at the date of the heke, people had occupied the centre of the island, and also that they had reached Taranaki and the Middle Island. Some of the canoes, the names of which have been preserved, and about which so little is known, are possibly those of coastal voyagers from the North or Bay of Plenty, and not those from far Hawaiki, as has been supposed; some of these are mentioned later on.
The statement above, that the Moa inhabited the forests may be taken exception to, principally because their bones are to this day chiefly found in the open. But they are sometimes found in the forest, and the many names of places there are in which the word moa enters, now under forest, seems to show that the monster bird did inhabit the forest; though no doubt preferring the open and the forest margins.
There are probably only one or two actual statements in Maori traditions as to the killing of the Moa, one of which is to the effect that Apataki, the son of Maka (who came here in the “Arawa” canoe) was killed by the kick of a Moa. The strong probability is that the bulk of the Moas were destroyed by the tangata-whenua people of New Zealand before the heke, but that a few survived to later times. The late Chief Judge Fenton told the writer that he had found near his home in Kaipara bones of the Moa within an old Maori pa, that tradition says was built by the Titahi people on their migration south from Hokianga to Taranaki, circa 1550. 5 He adds, “I remember a Maori telling me that the way they used to kill the Moa was this: Approaching them in scrubby or other places where it was difficult for the Moa to run, they used to await the stroke of the bird, which consisted in lifting up the leg and with it striking forward. The Maori, armed with a long stick, then struck the standing leg, when the bird fell down and was disposed of by aid of a club.”
Old Hiha of Moawhango, in the Mokai-Patea country, told the writer that neither his father, nor his grandfather, had ever seen the Moa, but that his forefathers had hunted and killed it long ago. He often had seen the bones, and once found those of a complete head; it was about eighteen inches long. In former times such bones were very plentiful on the hills in that district, but generally rotten (as he put it), whilst in the streams they were quite hard and well preserved. The Moas, he said, lived in cliffy places, but went out to feed all over the - 138 country, eating leaves, etc. When attacked they stood on the left leg, whilst the other was raised up close to the body, and so soon as the hunter approached within striking distance, the bird kicked out; if the hunter was struck, it killed him. The bird, he knew from tradition, was about ten feet high, and their way of killing it was by throwing spears at it. One very effectual way was to strike the leg the bird stood on with a long heavy pole which usually brought it down, when it was killed by spears or clubs. The bird was—says Hiha—quite clever at warding off (karo) thrusts made at it, with the upraised leg. This confirms Mr. Fenton's account of the method of killing the bird. It may be added, that in his younger days (say about 1840) Hiha had hunted and caught numbers of Kakapo in the Kai-manawa mountains—the last the writer knows of was caught by Te Kepa-Puawheawhe in those mountains in 1895.
Now that we know the effects of environment on all life, it is obvious that great changes must have taken place in the Maoris after a sojourn of some centuries in a country so different from the tropical islands, from which they came hither. No longer could they depend on nature to supply them with the means of existence without effort on their part: no longer would the forests furnish the abundance that is referred to in the old Maori saying, “Hawaiki kai.” Hawaiki the prolific, and in the words of the old song:—
Daily was strenuous effort necessary to procure from the sea, the rivers, and the woods, the where-with-all to keep off the onge-kai (starvation); and long distances must be traversed in search of these foods, gradually leading to a knowledge of the country and its productions. In a colder climate, the thin garments so suitable to the tropics, and made of aute bark, had to be abandoned for warmer material, which they luckily found in the harakeke or native flax, the strong silken fibres of which they discovered how to separate from the leaf, and form into woven garments of great strength and warmth, adorned with handsome patterns (taniko), which patterns, however, were probably brought with them, for we see an almost identical one on the garments worn, at this day, by the people of Pleasant Island, but no where else. The houses common to the Tropical regions had likewise to be adandoned for others of a warmer nature, and hence these old-time people invented the whare-puni, quite unlike any thing in the Pacific until we reach the shores of far Alaska, and this implied most arduous labour, with the tools they possessed—stone axes and adzes, in the finish of which no other branch of the race approaches—only equally by their beautifully adorned canoes, excelling any thing of the kind in other parts of the Pacific. The Maori carving likewise appears to be an - 139 art of local origin or of great local development, for it is not found elsewhere in so perfect a form. Tradition says it was invented by Rau-ru—some say by Rua—who flourished some five or six generations before the heke; but may be, he in reality only improved on ideas which had long previously been initiated. The same remarks apply to their tattooing; it is apparently local—no other branch of the race possessed it in the Maori form, though some form of tattooing was common wherever the Polynesians are found.
It would seem also that this forest environment has effected the mental aspect of the people towards their gods. We know for certain, in some branches of the Polynesian race—and there is a strong probability in the case of others—that Tane was the great god of the Polynesians at one time; he seems to have been the supreme ruler (always excepting Io, about whom we know little or nothing) subsequently deposed to an inferior rank on an equality with several others, or even superseded almost wholly in some branches by Tangaroa, who, with the Maoris, takes quite a secondary rank. Tane, with the Maoris, seems to have retained much of his ancient glory, but owing to the forest environment he has developed into the god of forests and all connected with wood-work, and the feathered inhabitants thereof. This seems to be a natural development, just as Tangaroa, god of the sea and all connected with it, should have developed in some cases to be the supreme diety of all; as in the case of most of the Polynesians whose lives were largely passed on the deep.
The extremely ancient cult of Rangi and Papa, seems to have been retained by the Maoris more fully, with more persistence and greater detail than any other branch of the race. And this seems due to the early isolation of the tangata-whenua, who brought with them from the Pacific the full knowledge of this cult, which was not greatly affected by the invasion of more recent modifications introduced by disturbing elements from other parts of the Pacific. In the islands, Rangi and Papa are certainly known, but amongst the Maoris alone is to be found the great detail and full belief of the origin of all things through them. For proof of this we have only to refer to the traditions of the Moriori of the Chatham Islands, where we shall find the same belief in, and detailed account of Rangi and Papa—modified in some respects, no doubt by their environment, but still the same fundimentally. And no one at this date will probably deny that the Morioris represent most closely the ancient tangata-whenua of New Zealand. All evidence seems to indicate that those people migrated from here a few generations before the date of the heke. 6- 140
The only native writer on the old tangata-whenua was Hamiora Pio, now gone to join the majority. He refers in many places to the peaceful lives led by this old-time people, and states that wars and troubles only arose after the arrival of the heke. This may have been true as a general statement, in fact seems highly probable, for some of the common causes of war were non-existent at that time—there was abundance of room for the people to spread—the forests, lakes and mountains would not, at that period, have been appropriated so closely by family and tribal claims, such as obtained afterwards. Moriori history, whilst accounting for the migration to the Chatham Islands by war, would seem to confirm the idea that peace was the rule with the tangata-whenua, otherwise the agreement come to by the people during the first generation of their occupation of that island, to the effect they should live in peace in future, as they did from that date until their conquest by the Maoris in 1836, would not have been possible.
Against this theory of Hamiora Pio's, we have the fact that a great many of the fortified pas still existing were built by the tangata-whenua, which seems to show that the necessity for protection had arisen in some parts, and, moreover, the Maori pa is a feature peculiar to New Zealand.
It is now necessary to enter more particularly into the evidence of the early occupation of the Taranaki district, and, as will be seen, it is somewhat meagre. In doing so some long genealogies will have to be quoted, but as these have never been printed before, it is considered advisable to herein preserve them for future reference. The first is one obtained by Mr. John White in the sixties, and is of great interest, for it does not, as so often occurs, start with one of the crew of the heke of 1350. It was recited by the fathers of Mahau, 7 last but one on the pedigree. It will be observed that the list begins with Rangi and Papa—the Sky-father and Earth-mother—but it does not necessarily follow that the old tohungas believed that Kahui-ao was the actual son of these two; rather does it mean that he was a descendant of the common parents. Indeed, the name implies a tribe rather than a personal name.- i
Family Tree. RANGI-NUI=PAPA, 46 Kahui-ao, Ao-pouri, Ao-rarangi, Ao-whetu-ma, Ao-tatai, Tamarau-te-heketanga-a-rangi=Rongo-ue-roa, 40 Awa-nui-a-rangi=Tahu-ao-ariki, Tu-pokerekere-nuku, Tu-pokerekere-rangi, Te-Awa-huri-nuku, Te-Awa-huri-rangi, 35 Muanga-nuku, Muanga-rangi, Titahi-a-Tama=Hikonga-rangi, Ngai, Ngai-roa, 30 Ngai-peha, Ngai-tuturu, Ngai-pepeke, Te Manu-waero-rua, Tama-ki-te-rakei-ora, 25 Mawete-ro-rangi, Pae-nui-o-te-rangi (f)=Marama-taha-i-haoa-te-rangi, Te Kahui-Tu, Tu-mua, Tu-roto, Tu-whanga, Te Pouri, Te Marama, Pae-nui-o-te-rangi (f)=Marama-taha-i-haoa-te-rangi, Hopai (f), Ira-rupe (f), Hou-me-hikitia (f), 20 Te Hotu-whenua, Tu-te-roki, Tu-te-roka, Tu-marewa, 20 Tu-nga-tahi, Tu-whakangia, Tu-pokaikai, Tu-whakaihia, Tu-wharaunga, 15 Tu-makoha, Tauira-o-hua, Tauira-paoi, Te Tira-tu, Rakai-ata, Rangi-toenga=Hine-kawhia, 1 Rona-mai-te-ra (f), 2 Tauira-matau, 3 Ao-mira, Rangi-atanga, 10 Rangi-te-rake, Rangi-tu-ki-waho, Tu-ki-a-rangi, Whakairi-a-rangi, Rangi-te-weo, 5 Tawhito-rangi, Te Tupe-o-Tu, Kuha-mai-te-rangi, Taka-wairangi, Whakaruhi, Whakapiki-aorangi, Rangi-kapiu-ao, 5 Ngata=Tapuhia, Mahau, Ngata 8, Tu-take=Maru-kore, Hine-tawhao, 1 Kai-tangi-ika, 2 Rae-pakau, Kawa-kino, Rongo-mai-ro=, Te Kahui-Ru., Ru-nuku, Ru-rangi, Ru-papa-wai, Ru-papa-paheke, Ru-papa-mania, Ru-papa-u, Tupe-aro-kewa, Hua, Hua-te-tangata, Rakei-haea, Te-Rangi-akuanei, Te Rangi-apopo, Te Rangi-punga-rere, Te Rangi-au-atu, Rakei-haea, Rakei-a-Tane, Tu-kai-kare, Mapu-kewa, Hakura-kino, Rakei-tiutiu, Tawake-tu, Tawake-rere, Tawake-poua, Tawake-tau-tahi, Tawake-piu-kura, Tawake-ara-nui, Te Tiki, Te Wai-tokorau, Te Matoha, Karetu-rangi, Taware-te-rangi, Hine-wai-tau, Umu-paka, Uru-rangi=Mata-renga
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The above table comes from the Ngati-Awa, or Ati-Awa tribe of Waitara, Taranaki, which tribe derives its name from Te-Awa-nui-a-rangi who, in this table, is shown to have flourished forty generations ago, which is too long, according to other lines, which make him to have been the son of Toi-kai-rakau, who flourished about thirty-one-generations ago (see chapter IV.) But it is possible there may have been one of that name who lived amongst the tangata-whenua prior to the son of Toi. The following story is about this Awa-nui, and the old people of Waitara and Wai-o-ngana believe the Ati-Awa tribe descend and take their name from him:“Tamarau-te-heketanga-a-rangi was a spirit (wairua), and was the Ati-Awa ancestor. He descended from heaven, 9 and at the time of his arrival he saw Rongo-ue-roa, who was down at the water washing her child, to do which she had stripped off her clothing. Whilst there, Tamarau approached and saw her; he came quite close to her without being seen by the woman. But presently, looking down at the water she saw the reflection of a man in it. This startled her very much, but she remained a long time gazing at the reflection; and then turned round, when to her surprise she saw a strange man standing at her back. The man sprung forward and embraced her. As he left he said: “If you have a male child, name him Te Awa-nui-a-rangi, after the stream (awa) to which I descended from heaven (rangi).” Hence is the saying about our tribe—'Te Ati-awa o runga o te rangi;’ ‘Ati-awa from the heavens above.’”
In “Journal Polynesian Society,” Vol. III., p. 12, is a genealogical table of the Middle Island people, showing a descent from one Awa-nui-a-rangi who flourished thirty-seven generations ago, whereas the child referred to in the above story is shown, by the table, to have lived thirty-nine or forty generations ago. There may be nothing at all in this approximation of dates, but it is clear from the nature of the story that it is very ancient. Much the same story is related of other ancient ancestors.
It is a question of great interest to genealogists as to whether this Awa-nui (40 in the table) is, or is not, the son of Toi-kai-rakau, the well-known tangata-whenua ancestor. It is possible he may be misplaced on Table No. 1, and really should come two places after Te Manu-waero-rua, which would make the position agree with the East Coast genealogies. But it is impossible now to settle these questions, though they are really all important as the only basis on which dates may be determined.
At twenty-seven generations from the present time we find Te Manu-waero-rua, who was undoubtedly one of the tangata-whenua living in New Zealand, and is given by the East Coast traditions as - 142 either father or mother 10 of Toi-kai-rakau, who by a mean of numerous line, flourished thirty-one generations ago. See chapter IV.
The first three names on the line beginning with Tu-mua are called Te Kahui-Tu, and the first six on the right are the Kahui-Ru—Kahui meaning a flock, a name which is only applied to the tangata-whenua people. These lines do not tell us when the junction occurs with the crew of the heke, but the marriage shown at generation twenty-four is about the period.
Te Kahui-Tu people, or Tribe, are said by tradition to have lived at Waitara and the names of their whare-kura (houses of learning, council, &c.) have been preserved—they are as follows: Ramaroa, Uro-weka, Puaki-taua, Maruarua, and Poporo-tapu.
Te Kahui-Rangi and Te Kahui-Tawake are also mentioned as tribal names of people who formerly lived at Waitara. These possibly refer to the people shown in Table No. 1 as the descendants of Rakei-haea, and of Rakei-tiutiu, under the heading of Te Kahui-Ru.
The above is from the Ati-Awa tribe; the following is from the Taranaki tribe which lives south of the Sugar-loaf Islands. The first part is a recitation of the ages preceding man.
“This is the line; it commences with the descendants of Rangi and Papa”:—
Table II.- 143
Family Tree. Po-tuatahi (the first age of darkness) down to—, Po-tua-ngahuru (the tenth age of darkness), (Descended from the darkness, was darkness again) as follows:—, Po-niho-uri, Po-niho-koi, Po-niho-tara, Tara-mamaunga, 5 Te-mamaunga-i-te-po, Potiki-o-te-po, Te Po-i-huri, Te Po-i-keu, Te Po-i-kakai, 10 Te Po-i-takataka-ki-te-oti, Tawhito-po, Ka-tipu-te-po, Ko-te-po, Tangaroa, 15 Tangaroa-tu-ki-uta, Tangaroa-tu-ki-tai, Kahu-kura-i-te-iho-toki, Pupuke, Mahara
Family Tree. 20 Hiringa-nuku, Hiringa-rangi, Hiringa-tau, Hiringa-te-manu-mea, Hunaki-tangata, (The ira—mole, flesh mark,? germ—of man grows, or appears, in the world of Being, and world of Light.), 25 Puia-nuku, Puia-rangi, (Appears the flashing light of heaven), Tu-whenua, Tu-mounga, Tu-parara, 30 Te Hono-atu, Para-karukaru, Para-whenua-mea, Rua-te-whanaunga, Rua-te-manu, 35 Rua-a-te-tira=Tautu-rangi, Rua-Taranaki=Rauhoto-tapairu, Rua-a-te-tira, Rua-a-te-pae, Rua-a-te-maimai-aroha, 40 Tira-haere, Tahu-rangi, Nga-hina, Tara-moana, Te Hou-tupu-ake, 45 Hau-maunga, Tamarau-a-tara, Tamarau-a-waho, Tamarau-a-haere, Tohi-ora, 50 Tohi-rau, 1 Amaru-pakihiwi, 2 Tautu-rangi, 3 Amaru-whakatare=Manauea, 1 Ngaere-rangi, 2 Maru-whakatina, 3 Rau-hoto-tapairu, 4 Makuru-te-hau.
The document from which this is taken (supplied by Te Kahui Kararehe of Raho-tu, Taranaki, who died in 1904) adds that Ati-Awa can supply the descendants of Ngaere-rangi, the others being Taranaki ancestors. 11 The table is a cosmogony in its early parts—certainly down to Rua-Taranaki, and is said to have formed part of the kura, or “system of knowledge,” brought to this country in 1350 by Te Mounga-roa. It is remarkable as differing from all - 144 other like systems that have been recorded. It is probably the only copy in existence, and hence has been printed here to preserve it for the use of students in the future. On line thirty-six is shown Rua-Taranaki, of the Kahui-maunga people, who is believed to have been a human being dwelling in this district, and after whom Mount Egmont (Taranaki) is named. His wife was Rau-hoto-tapairu, who, at this day, is represented by a large boulder near Cape Egmont, on which are some peculiar markings apparently the work of man. The original name of Mount Egmont—no doubt given by the tangata-whenua—was Puke-haupapa, or Ice-hill, so named from the perpetual snow on top; the second name was Puke-o-naki, which refers to its graceful slope, and finally it received its present name of Taranaki, after Rua-Taranaki who is said to have been the first man to ascend it. The Pou-a-kai (or Lower Ranges) were so called, because they represented a post or pillar of Rua-tupua and Rua-tawhito, who are supposed to have been ancestors in the distant past—indeed so ancient are they that we find these two names in the traditions of several branches of the race. It is questionable, however, if they represent ancestors—at any rate in many cases—but rather, ages, or stages, in the development of man.
Below will be found a tatai, or recitation of names in ordered sequence, which is not a genealogical table properly speaking, but is yet considered as a series of mythical stages which have had to do with the genesis of man. There is no doubt it originated, or was part of the system of knowledge of the tangata-whenua; and is printed here to preserve it. It also is said to have been used by Te Mounga-roa, the chief and priest, who came here in the “Kura-haupo” canoe, circa 1350—a statement which does not conflict, in the writer's opinion, with that which precedes it.
Mere lists of names like the above are of little interest to the ordinary reader, but to anyone who will take up the study of the ancient cult, of which these form a part, they are pregnant with meaning. This, however, is not the place for that—they are printed here to preserve them for the future student, for no where else are they to be found, in their present form.
There is a reference to Te Kahui-rua mentioned above, to be found in a song about the celebrated axe “Te Awhio-rangi, 15 as follows:—
‘Ko “Hahau-tu-noa,” te waka o Te Kahui-rua,
I ruku ai nga whatu, i
Ka rewa ki runga ra
Ko te whatu a Ngahue
Hoaina, ka pakaru.’
‘Hahau-tu-noa was the canoe of Te Kahui-rua
From which were the stones dived for,
And then floated up above
The Stone of Ngahue,
By spells broken up (were made into axes) etc.’
If we may take this for history, it shows that Te Kahui-rua was a man, or, perhaps, with more probability, a company of men, and they must have made a voyage in the canoe “Hahau-tu-noa” to the West Coast of the Middle Island, and there have procured, by diving, some greenstone, for Te Whatu-a-Ngahue (or Ngahue's stone) is an emblematical or poetical term for the jade; a large piece of which was taken by Ngahue to Rarotonga and Tahiti, and from it were formed the axes with which some of the canoes of the heke were made. 16 This again shows that the greenstone was known to the tangata-whenua before the arrival of the heke, and consequently they must have been acquainted with the West Coast of the Middle Island, for there alone is it to be found. Moreover, in the Chatham Island genealogies, long before the Moriori migrated to that place, we find a man named Pou-namu, which is the Maori name of the jade. Again the Morioris have a tradition of a celebrated axe brought with their ancestors Moe, from New Zealand, named “Toki-a-ra-meitei” which is supposed to be buried at the ancient tuahu, or altar, at Owhata, on that island, and, as Mr. Shand says, was described by Tapu, the late learned man of the Morioris, as made of jade. This seems to corroborate the following quotation from Judge F. R. Chapman's paper—“On the working of Greenstone,” 17 where he says:—“Mr. Stack thinks that Ngati-Wairangi - 146 occupied the West Coast (of the Middle Island) in very early times, and that the story told him at the Thames that a hei-tiki held by the natives there was brought by their ancestor Maru-tuahu from Hawaiki, may indicate that some of the Taranaki and Cook's Straits people obtained greenstone from the Ngati-Wairangi at a very early date, long before it became widely known.” We shall see later on that Rev. Mr. Stack was misinformed as to Maru-tuahu coming from Hawaiki—his parents lived near Hawera, Taranaki. From information Mr. Stack derived from the East Coast, Middle Island, natives of the Ngai-Tahu tribe (amongst whom he lived for many years), he deduces the date at which those particular people became acquainted with the greenstone, as the year 1700. But it will be shown in its proper place that voyages in search of the greenstone were made long before 1700. (See chapter VIII.)
On the subject of the early visits to Milford Sound, on the West Coast of the Middle Island, the following is interesting and has not—it is believed—been recorded before. In January 1891, Mr. Lewis Wilson, then Under Secretary, Marine Department, on his return from Milford, told the writer that the prisoners, who had been sent to that place to make a road up to and along the shores of Lake Ada, in excavating for a house-site, at three feet from the surface a Maori stone-axe was found. The surface of the land was covered with very large trees. On 14th February, 1891, Professor Aldis, who had just returned from Milford, told the writer the same story, which he and Professor Hutton obtained from the gaoler in charge. But the Professor called the object a chisel; it was two and a-half inches broad, not made of greenstone, and was found under two and a-half feet of shingle and sand, the surface of which was covered with large trees. This object must have been lying there a very great many years to have allowed of large trees growing over it. Of course it does not follow that the tan-gata-whenua made, used, and lost the axe.
The story of Tama-ahua, 18 and the greenstone, belongs to this period of the tangata-whenua. It is a Taranaki story. In it he is said to have belonged to “the Kahui-maunga,” 19 viz.: to those people who, it is claimed, came to Aotea-roa by way of land; “they walked here,” which is merely another way of saying that the circumstances of their arrival had been completely lost. In the name Kahui-maunga, we again see the word kahui, a flock, applied to a people, denoting its tan-gata-whenua origin. It is also claimed in the account of Tama-ahua, - 147 that his wives were daughters of Rakei-ora, grandson of Uenuku, which Uenuku flourished either in Tahiti or Rarotonga three or four generations before the heke. This particular and mythical story is no doubt founded on a dimly remembered account of a voyage made to the West Coast of the Middle Island, in search of the greenstone. Nor does it contain any more of the marvellous than the ancient Greek account of Jason's search for the Golden Fleece.
The following genealogical table also traces descent from the tangata whenua, at least it must be assumed so, for there is not a single name on it that can be traced to the tables of the heke. It is from the Ngati-Ruanui tribe of Patea, Taranaki. It commences by stating that Tu-tange-te-okooko-riri, who flourished as late as 1840, “descended from Rangi-nui (the great Heaven father) and Te Whani married Marama (the Moon?) from whom descended:—
Family Tree. Tikaro, Maukoro, Te Hohongo, Taki-aho, 5 Te Whakapunipuni, Te Whakamarumaru, Te Whakahohahoha, Matua-tuarau, Moe-hangarau-tatangi, 10 Hona, Tai, Marama, Ki-taua, Kuru-tongia, 15 Para-tongia, Te Ata-rewha, Rangi-pinea, Maru-kawau, Hoe-whango, 20 Wero-karihi, Tai-o-hua, 22 Te Rangi-ka-ko, 23 Uehenga-ariki, Uehenga-puanake=Tane-roroa, Turi—of “Aotea” canoe, Rua-nui, the eponymous ancestor of Ngati-Ruanui tribe, who lived twenty generations ago.
Of Uehenga-puanake we shall have to speak later on, in chapter VII. It will be observed that there are twenty-two generations down to the time of the heke, which seems to imply that Tikaro was the first of this line to come to New Zealand, and that the date is about the same as that derived from the other genealogies preceding.
The following is also a tatai from the Ngati-Ruanui tribe, partly no doubt a recitation of ages, or periods, partly a genealogical table, which ends at one who was a contemporary of Turi—of the “Aotea” canoe.- 148
Family Tree. Te Kahui-ao, Ao-nui, Ao-roa, Ao-potango, Ao-whatuma, Ao-kehu, Whaka-tapatapa-i-awha, Kamaru-te-atinuku, Ao-po-iho, Ao-po-ake, Ao-whakatiri=Te Uiarei, Maihi, Rona, Mata-o-tu and Mata-whetu-rere, Rangi-huki, Rangi-whatino, Hoe-wha, Tu-te-tawha, Tu-tange, Toka-ariki, Mahuru, Mawete, Tokainga, Tamatea-kuru-mai-i-te-uru-o-Tawhiti-nui
The Tamatea with the long name above was the father of Rua-uri, who married Whakaari, who will be mentioned in chapter VII. This Tamatea is said by my informant to be the same as Tamatea-pokai-whenua who was drowned at the Huka falls, Taupo—but I doubt it. At any rate his name shows him to have come from Tahiti here. The above Tamatea is said to have visited Turi at Patea, after the latter had settled down here—and this gives us his period as shortly after the arrival of the fleet in 1350.
THE STORY OF MOUNT EGMONT.
The story of Mount Egmont's travels is of the same order as the account of Tama-ahua, and evidently on the face of it very ancient: Mount Egmont (Taranaki) once lived in the neighbourhood of Tongariro mountain, in the centre of the North Island, whose wife was Pihanga—that graceful wooded mountain, with crater near its top, now filled with water. Taranaki fell in love with the Lady Pihanga, much to the wrath of Tongariro, who ordered him to leave, enforcing his command with so powerful a kick, that Taranaki was driven away to the west. In his flight he followed down the course of what is now the Manga-nui-te-au branch of the Whanganui river, opening up its course down to the main river. Then, in his flight, scouring out the Whanganui river itself. At about ten miles seaward of the Ohura junction there is a group of rocks in the Whanganui river, said to have been dropped by Mount Egmont in his hasty flight. Again, inland of Wai-totara, are other rocks dropped in the same manner. From this place he came westwards as far as the great Ngaere swamp, where he rested, and by his great weight made a depression in the ground, since filled by the swamp. “Continuing his journey,” says Mr. Skinner, “he arrived just at dark, at the south-east end of the Pou-a-kai ranges, which had been in their present position ages before Mount Egmont arrived. Having arrived at Pou-a-kai, he was persuaded to stay the night, and whilst he was asleep he was bound fast by a spur thrown - 149 out from the ranges towards the south-east, from which the Wai-wera-iti stream (the ancient name of Stoney River) flows. Awakening in the morning he found himself a prisoner, and has remained there ever since.” There are various accounts of the adventures of Mount Egmont, differing in detail, but the main facts are the same. One version says that when he was stopped by Pou-a-kai, he pulled up so suddenly that the top was carried onward, and is now seen in the boulder called Toka-a-Rau-hotu near Cape Egmont.
The kick, or blow, given Egmont by Tongariro is still to be seen in the hollow on its south-east side under what is called Fanthom's peak. The place where Egmont formerly stood became filled with water, and now forms Lake Roto-a-Ira (Rotoaira on the maps). From this story arises the Taranaki saying:—
With the poetry that is so common to the Maori, he adds to this legend, that when the mists and clouds cover the summit of Mount Egmont, this indicates that he is still bewailing and crying over the loss of his lover Pihanga; and that when Tongariro (or rather Nga-uru-hoe) is in eruption and emits smoke and flame, and the volcanic forces rumble down below, this is the enduring anger of the husband against his wife's lover.
Mr. Skinner adds the following:—“Taranaki on his journey from Taupo was preceded by a stone—a female—of great mana, called Toka-a-Rauhotu, which acted as a pilot, or guide, keeping well in advance of Taranaki. The day preceding the capture of Egmont by Pou-a-kai, Toka-a-Rauhotu had reached within a short distance of the coast, on the south side of Wai-wera-iti (Stoney river). On awakening in the morning she turned to see if Taranaki was following, and then discovered that Pou-a-kai had thrown out a new arm, or spur, in the night encircling and making a prisoner of Egmont. Toka-a-Rauhotu has remained until the present day, a thing of great veneration to all the tribes, still looking upon her old friend and follower with longing eyes. But the great mana (supernatural power) which she once possessed has since the coming of the Pakeha departed, and men who now fearlessly touch her, do not die as in former times. The carvings on the face of this rock were done generations ago by a party of Ngati-Tama, 20 seventy in number, who dug up the stone with great labour, and removed it; but the same night it returned to its old resting place. The infringement of the tapu implied in this act of Ngati-Tama brought - 150 its own reward, for they all died under the influence of makutu, or witchcraft. Toka-a-Rauhotu in its journey from Taupo, was accompanied by may familiar spirits in the shape of lizards, who dwelt around the rock.” (Plate No. 3 shows Te Toka-a-Rau-hotu.)
There are numerous similar stories of the travelling of mountains, not alone confined to New Zealand, but found wherever the Polynesian is located—indeed, such stories are world-wide.
Allusion has already been made to the paucity of direct statements as to the ancient peoples of this coast to be found in Maori tradition. It is only from incidental mention, as a rule, that we learn of them; for the arrival of the fleet in 1350, and the consequent absorption of the older element of the population in that of a more masterful people, tended to give predominance to the knowledge and history introduced by the newcomers, and gradually and slowly led to the belief that the country was first peopled by the heke. But there are, neverthless, a few direct references, of which are the following:—
There are stories current on this coast of a people called Maero, who are described as wild men of the woods, and who probably were the remains of some of the original people driven to the forests and mountains by the incoming crews of the heke. Even so late as the fifties of last century, they were supposed to inhabit the great forests in inland Taranaki. They have sometimes been confused with the Patu-pai-arehe, or fairies—so called—but this is quite a modern idea. At Puke-koikoi, on the Whanganui river, was a hill occupied by the Maero before that river was inhabited by the present tribes, and which the Maero abandoned after the place had been visited by the newcomers—they did so, because the tapu of their homes was desecrated by the invasion of newcomers.
It is a question if in some cases the term Tu-rehu—generally identified with Patu-pai-arehe—does not refer also the old-time people. When Kupe the navigator called in at Kawhia, on his voyage down the coast, he saw people there whom he called Tu-rehu. The people he also saw at Patea—though said to be birds—were probably men; for we also have the statement, “Turi (of Patea) and his son slew the men of this island; the name of that race was Kohikohi.”
The Rev. T. G. Hammond of Patea, a conscientious and careful inquirer, who will be quoted several times in the course of this narrative, says (1891):—“I am of opinion from what I can gather that there was a race of men in this and other parts of New Zealand when the Maoris (those of the heke) arrived. Hone Mohi Tawhai (a very intelligent and well-educated Maori, long since dead) I am sure, quite believed that the Turehu were a race of real men inhabiting Hokianga- iii
- iv Page is blank- 151
when his great ancestor Kupe arrived there.” See what Hapakuku Ruia says as to the Turehu on the first page hereof.
Wi Hape, an old man of Te Ati-Awa, living at the Hutt, has stated the fact that on the arrival of the “Tokomaru” and other canoes on the Taranaki Coast, the crews found people living there.
“A people named Te Kahui-toka were found living at Patea when Turi, captain of the ‘Aotea’ arrived there.” Note again the word kahui as a name for a tribe. Their names were:—Tokanui, Tokaroa, Toka-whareroa, Toka-kahura and Toka-potiki, probably all brethren.
The following is translated from “Nga Mahinga,” etc., by Sir G. Grey—p. 123. It refers to the arrival of Manaia and his party in the “Toko-maru” canoe, circa 1350. “Then they paddled on down the coast until they arrived at Tonga-porutu, where the canoe was finally left, and the people travelled on overland to Puke-aruhe, then to Papa-tiki, then along the beach of Kuku-riki to Mimi 21 river which they waded, afterwards crossing the Motu-nui plain to Kaweka, and to the Ure-nui river. This river had another name previously, but on the arrival of Manaia and his son Tu-ure-nui at that place, it was named after the latter. They forded this river, then proceeded on overland to Rohutu at the mouth of the Waitara river, where they settled. Now, there were people living there, the native people of this island; but they were killed by Manaia and his party, and the country taken by Manaia, his sons and followers. The reason they were killed by Manaia was so that they should possess the land.”
It is unfortunate that Sir G. Grey, having, as he had at that time, about 1849–50, the opportunity, did not follow this statement up and learn more particulars of this ousted people. No doubt his informant could have told a great deal about them, but it is too late now. It will be noted above that Ure-nui had a name before Manaia's time, as no doubt had Waitara, the origin of which we shall see later on.
Mr. Wells, in his History of Taranaki, p. 4, quoting Mr. John White, says:—“The people found at Wai-tara by Manaia, were called Ngati-Moko-torea”; but I have no where else come across this name. No doubt these people were some of the original Tini-o-Awa, later called Ati-Awa.
Tracing, as some portions of the Taranaki tribes do, their descent and tribal name from Awa-nui-a-rangi, they could claim to belong to that wide-spread people, Te Tini-o-Awa, who have been found North of Auckland, in the Bay of Plenty, the Hawke's Bay district, Waira-rapa, and with little doubt also in the Middle Island. For all these widely dispersed branches of that ancient tribe take their name from the same man, who was a son of Toi-kai-rakau, and flourished circa a.d. 1150. The collective names of the families or tribes of the - 152 tangata-whenua, differ entirely from those terms used by the immigrants of the heke. It is only after the arrival of the latter that we become familiar with the now common Ngati as a collective word for a tribe. Previously, the names were Kahui, Tini, Whanau, etc. 22 Ngati is used exactly in the same manner in Raro-tonga as in New Zealand. The Tahitians have the word ‘Ati,’ which, as they do not pronounce the ng, is identically the same word with the same meaning, but it is not used in the same manner as in New Zealand. For instance, Te Teva and Te Oropaa clans of Tahiti are not, I think, ever called ‘Ati-Te-Teva,’ ‘Ati-Te-Oropaa,’ etc., though the Missionaries have very appropriately used it in the Tahitian Bible, as in the case of Ati-Iuda, the children of Judah, etc., etc. In Samoa, Ati “denotes a number of chiefs of the same name or title; as ‘O le Ati Tagaloa.’” In Pau-motu Ngati is a tribe, but in no other of the Polynesian dialects is it found (according to the Dictionaries). Hence the Ngati is peculiarly Eastern Polynesian, which we might expect seeing that the heke came from there to New Zealand. But did the tangata-whenua come from the same quarter of the Pacific to New Zealand?
The writer is strongly of opinion that they did not—that in fact they came from Western Polynesia, but the evidence is so slight, and depends upon so many considerations, that it cannot be stated here. The direct evidence of names does not help us much, though this is the most important of all, for the tangata-whenua traditions have mostly been lost. Hamiora Pio, already referred to, states that Maku (who visited New Zealand circa 850) came from Mata-ora, a name that cannot be identified. Some of the northern accounts seem to indicate—though this is not certain—that some, at least, came from Mata-te-ra and Waerota, names which equally cannot now be identified; but the general position of which can be fixed from Tahitian and Rarotongan traditions as islands lying to the N.W. of Fiji, or, possibly some of the Fiji Islands themselves. The Hawaiki of the tangata-whenua is probably Savai'i of the Samoa group, whilst that of the heke is Hawaiki-runga, or Tahiti and the adjacent groups.
A very astute man of the Taranaki tribe states positively that his ancestors who came over in the heke, found a numerous people here called Kahui-maunga with whom the newcomers amalgamated, and he supports this by arguments which are convincing, and really more like those of a European than a Maori, though the probability is that he never discussed the matter with any one before the writer questioned him on the subject. He claims that Rua-tupua, Rua-tawhito, and Rua-Taranaki shown on the Tables No. 2 and 3, belonged to this Kahui-maunga people, and that their descendants are still to be found amongst the Taranaki tribe.- 153
Again, the Ngati-Ruanui tribe claim the following genealogical table as showing a descent from the tangata-whenua:—
Family Tree. Tamau-awhitia=Rongo-whiriao, 1 Tama-nui-te-ra, 2 Rakei-whana=, 1 Te Manu-karae, Te Karae-nui, Te Karae-roa, Te Karae-hungahunga-o-te-rangi=, 1 Te Karae-nuku, Taikehu, 2 Mau-tieke, 2 Tama-ki-te-ra, Rakei-tupu, Rakei-nuku-wha, Rakei-paea, Rakei-nui, Rakei-roa, Rakei-kohikohi, Rakei-kohaha, Hine-tuhi=Rakei-whane
“This is the aristocratic line of this island from Tamau-awhitia and his descendants, who owned this island, whilst Paikea and his descendants lived in the Middle Island. Tamau-awhitia owned Te Ikaroa-a-Maui (North Island), and he was of the Kahui-maunga. His canoe was the “fishing line” of his ancestor Maui-Potiki. In the times of Turi and his canoe “Aotea,” then were these two canoes amalgamated, and the land called Aotea-roa.” Although the position of Tamau-awhitia cannot be stated with regard to the date of the heke, he flourished in New Zealand before Turi of the “Aotea” canoe arrived.
In the above, the “fishing line” of Maui-Potiki may be taken as equivalent to saying, that the origin of these people is unknown—that they date from the time when Maui-Potiki “fished up” New Zealand from the depths, as he is accredited with doing in the case of so many islands—in other words his “fishing” was his discovery of the Islands. This seems to lend support to Judge Wilson's and Col. Gudgeon's theories, that one Maui-Potiki was the ancestor of all the tangata-whenua people. One Tai-kehu is said to have been a contemporary of Turi of the “Aotea,” but not the man shown last in Table No. VI., and after him was named originally the river called by Turi, Patea-nui-a-Turi, 23 but formerly known as Te-Awa-nui-a-Taikehu. This change is said to have been made by agreement between the two men, in reference to their two sons, Kura-waiho and Turanga-i-mua—an - 154 obscure statement. Tai-kehu's home at Patea was Wai-punga-roa; his paepae, or latrine, Peketua; his food-store, Rakenga; his drinking spring, Wai-puehu; his tutu, or bird preserve, Rangi-tuhi. The former name of the river next to the south of Patea was Wai-kakahi, renamed by Turi, Tarai-whenua-kura. The traditions of Ngati-Ruanui say that Tai-kehu lived before Kupe and Turi—a point we shall have to allude to later.
This chapter commenced with the statement that very little of the history of the tangata-whenua of this coast has been preserved. All that is known or may legitimately be deduced is stated above, and it will be seen how little it is. Their history has been so overlaid by that of the more forceful heke, that it has even been doubted if ever such a people existed. But this idea is now exploded and the tangata-whenua must take their place as forming a large element in the present population. Some writers have supposed that, prior to the heke, New Zealand was occupied by a non-Polynesian race; in the writer's opinion there is no justification for such a belief. It is probably true that on one or two occasions Melanesians may have arrived in New Zealand on board vessels under the command of Polynesians, and that a few may have remained in the country. But these would be extremely few in number. So far as we know, they all returned with their masters to the Central Pacific—they in fact would be slaves brought to paddle the canoes.
We now proceed to discuss the date of Kupe's arrival in New Zealand, and then will describe that element of the population of the Taranaki Coast, derived from the crews of the heke or migration of 1350.
1 This date is arrived at by allowing twenty-five years to a generation, and taking the mean of a very large number from the date of the heke to the present time, i.e., about twenty-two generations down to the year 1900. These numbers have been checked by the genealogies of Tahiti, Hawaii and Rarotonga, which are all in very fair accord when deduced from common ancestors.
2 E. Best, Tran.: Proceed. N.Z. Inst., Vol. xxxvii., p. 121. &c.
3 “Hawaiki,” second edition, 1904.
4 It seems somewhat doubtful if the pukeko was one of the original birds of New Zealand. This is a question, however, for naturalists to decide. The Maori traditions on the subject are so persistent in saying that the bird was brought here with the heke, that there must be some foundation for them. The bird is common in Samoa and other islands, and if the Maoris did introduce it, they probably picked it up on their way when they called at the Kermadec Islands, where it still is to be found.
5 This seems to be the date as derived from Northern traditions, but others state the presence of the Titahi people in the Auckland Isthmus as early as the years 1375–1400.
6 In “Transactions, N.Z. Institute,” vol. xxxvii., p. 604, is to be found the following:—“In the discussion which followed, Captain Mair mentioned that the Morioris were quite a distinct race from the Maoris, but they appeared subsequently to have intermingled with the Maori, and formed with them a mixed race, introducing into their own language a proportion of Maori words.” After thirteen months residence in the Chatham Islands, and a constant study of the Morioris, the writer must differ entirely from Captain Mair—there can, we think, be no doubt as to the identity of the two people in physique, traditions and language, somewhat modified by their long isolation and their environment.
7 Old Taranaki settlers will remember Mahau, a finely tattooed old warrior who lived at Mahoe-tahi, a fortified and pallisaded pa in the forties, and where the battle of Mahoe-tahi was fought between the Maoris and Taranaki Volunteers under Major (afterwards Sir Harry) Atkinson, November 6th, 1860, and H.M. troops.
8 Died in August, 1907, aged about 65.
9 Which possibly means that he belonged to some visiting canoe from Hawaiki.
10 The name is generally no indication of sex in Maori.
11 This Table breaks off at the last name given, and does not come down to the present time by many generations.
12 Ka ingoatia a Pou-a-kai maunga, ko te pou a Rua-tupua raua ko Rua-ta-whito. (From whence Pou-a-kai ranges take their name, the pillar of Rua-tupua and Rua tawhito.)
13 From him descend the Kahui, or flock of Ruas.)
14 (In his time were great earthquakes.)
15 Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. ix., p. 231.
16 See “Hawaiki,” p. 209.
17 Tran: N.Z. Institute, Vol. xxiv.
18 Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. v., p. 233.
19 In a note by Tutange, a leading chief of Patea, he says…. “But there were people here before even Kupe. Tai-kehu was the name of one, and the canoe he came in was named ‘Kahui-maunga.’” He lived at Patea.
20 It seems unlikely that a party of strangers, such as Ngati-Tama were, should have made the carvings.
21 Wrongly called Onaero in the narrative.
22 Many months after the above was written, I found that Judge Wilson, in his “Sketches of Maori Life and History,” had come to the same conclusion as myself.
23 Patea is probably an old name brought here by the heke of 1350, for we find there was a marae of that name in Tahiti in former times.